Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course
Alberta, Canada

Tenth hole, 490 yards, The Maze; A distinctively bunkered hole with the placement of the 11 bunkers and their configuration works of the art of manual labor.  The hole is aptly named ‘The Maze’ with the bunkers separating the flat 10th fairway from that of the flat 6th fairway. Though completely artificial and man-made, Thompson’s unique bunkers give both holes their distinctive character. Though Jasper enjoys much more consistently rolling topography than Banff, Thompson enthused the holes over the flatter portions of the property (i.e. the 5th, 6th, 10th, and11th holes) with the most bunkers.

As seen from near the 10th tee, a maze of bunkers greets the golfer at the 10th.

Eleventh hole, 405 yards, Pyramid; The towering Pyramid Mountain in the far distance is the target for the tee shot. This undulating green is the most difficult on the course and is beautifully framed by six more of Thompson’s bunkers which are meant to replicate the mountain peaks in the background. It is worth noting that these artistic greenside bunkers weren’t part of the original design but were added during one of Thompson’s numerous return visits.

The view from the 11th tee.

Thompson's back greenside bunkers at the 11th. Perry Cooper does a sensational job of presenting the course in a manner consistent with the course's rugged mountain setting.

Thirteenth hole, 605 yards, Grande  Allee; At the time the course opened in 1925, this was one of the handful of longest three shot holes ever conceived. Two perfect strikes with hickories were required just to leave the player with a blind mashie niblick approach to a sunken green. Modern technology has taken some of the sting out of the hole but every player delights in playing across such a tumbling landscape.

This view from behind the 13th captures the tumbling topography and the blind nature of the approach shot.

Fourteenth hole, 360 yards, Lac Beauvert; A hole of uncommon beauty, the Cape tee ball must carry Lac Beauvert to reach the banked right to left fairway. The green is bunkerless – as is the entire hole for that matter – but is well defended by the natural slope of the land. As at the 8th and 16th holes, where natural features abound, Thompson built no bunkers.

Thompson takes the golfer on a journey at Jasper Park. The long 13th heads toward Lake Beauvert and the 14th tee just into the glacial lake. Surrounded by mountains, it is easy for the golfer's mind to wander.

The tee ball on the 14th possesses the classic diagonal options of a Cape tee shot.

The approach to the elevated 14th green is often from a tricky sidehill stance. However, the closer the golfer challenges the lake with his tee ball, the more level the stance.

Fifteenth hole, 140 yards, The Bad Baby; One of the four finest short holes in the world,belonging in the group with the 7th at Pebble Beach, the 8th at Royal Troon, and the 6th at National Golf Links of America. The hole, aptly named, is adeceptive teaser thanks in part to the restorative work carried out to the course’s bunkers over the past decade. The back right bunker appears to be a genuine greenside bunker, flanking the right of the green. In fact, it is well back, past the back edge of the green. In 1995, the bunker didn’t exist in this spot were Thompson had designed it. Instead it was short right of the green where it created none of the visual trickery that it does today. The width of the green is a scant 14 yards and is located on a small knob. Any shot that misses the green will bound away and leave a delicate recovery shot (or two). The play is simply to aim for the middle of the green as regardless of where the hole is located, the resulting putt will be short.

The first time visitor may not appreciate the difficulties of the short 15th...

...until after his tee shot! This tee ball actually landed on the edge of the green before spinning down the slope. Many a golfer has faced this difficult up and down at Bad Baby. Note how far back the right bunker actually is.

Sixteenth hole, 380 yards, The Bay; Alan Carter, Director of Golf, notes that there is approximately 80 yards or so on the tip of the peninsula past the 15th green site and 16th tee. Apparently, Thompson was originally restricted from building the holes further out onto the point as cottages were to be placed there. Fortunately, such building never took place and the option is available to at least move the 16th further back such they so desire.

Alan Carter points out the breaks on the back to front sloped 16th green during the 2004 annual GolfClubtlas.com gathering. Thompson banked the ground short and right of the green so that the weaker golfer didn't have to necessarily attempt a forced carry over the lake.

Eighteenth hole, 465 yards, Home; Alister MacKenzie was a great admirer of this Home hole. Sweeping dramatically to the left down a hill,a perfectly shaped draw around the corneris likely to be the beneficiary of a huge kick further toward the green. A short iron can be hit to the long but narrow green. However, the more likely drive finishes well back up the hill and a longish iron will be required to get the job done. A potential two stroke swing hole, and therefore one of the author’s handful of favorite finishing holes in golf.

No wonder that MacKenzie thought so much of this finishing hole as it has both beauty and strategic value.

Great golf courses contain a sense of adventure. Late one September, the author was out on the peninsula that holds the 14th -16th holes. In the middle of the fairway was a family of elk. The young ones were away from their rather large mother.Considering it to be imprudent to come between the mother elk and her babies, we took our shoes off, walked into the edge of the lake, and circled quietly past. Such opportunities to be so closely intertwined with nature are rare and make a game at Japser Park an absolute must.

The End